Italy, ruins, and a new gallery page

Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica

Just back from Rome, visiting a friend for her birthday – had a great time warm in October in the mountains to the South of the city, and also got the opportunity to indulge my fascination with ruins and decay. I avoided the forum/capitol hill area in favour of a visit to Ostia, the old port of Rome before the sea moved and in decline since the building of newer facilities in the third century AD. The city was largely abandoned and left to decay by the end of the sixth century, and the Italian archaeologists have done a remarkable (and ongoing) job of excavation and stabilisation over the past 70 years. We last visited it in 2005, and I fell in love with wandering through streets well enough preserved that I could imagine the life that went on happening all around me. Interestingly, the ruins also house a collection of sculpture and wall pieces by the Italian abstractionist, Umberto Mastroianni. It was a delight to experience this work in the setting, and the wall pieces in the Ostia museum made a particularly strong impression on me.

Italy is of course one of the oldest civilisations in Europe, and I am always reminded of the fact when I visit. Surrounded by history, wandering through the twists and turns of 14th century villages built on the side of cliffs, we came across a preserved sanctuary to the goddess Fortuna, an amazing place whose fresco’s were an eyeopener. Reasonably detailed, with perspective and colour depth, they appeared more like the work of 18th century northern European artists. Overall, the whole trip left me with a feeling for how similar people are, despite being separated by two millenia.

Since getting back I have focused on updating this site to include the paintings exhibited in ‘We are not in the least afraid of ruins’. I have created a new page – Ruins – top right on the navigation bar, or click on . I include, below, one of the paintings from the series – Wasted Energy. This is the last piece I painted before the exhibition, I hope you enjoy it.

Wasted energy

Wasted energy


One thought on “Italy, ruins, and a new gallery page

  1. Hi John, that is really interesting and I wish I had had the chance to visit Ostia when I went to Italy. I am so glad you enjoyed and have been, I think, inspired by your visit. I look forward to seeing your future paintings. xx

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